Looking back on my first semester of college, I can honestly say it wouldn't have been the same had I not gotten involved in campus life. When I first came to college, I knew I wanted to get involved in organizations and activities that sparked my interest, which led me to apply to a first-year leadership and community service organization offered at my school. OrangeSeeds immerses passionate first-year students into the Syracuse community through various volunteer projects and team building activities, wrapping up the year by planning the largest student run day of community service at Syracuse University. A group of 24 first-year and transfer students, OrangeSeeds has without a doubt shaped my first semester in the best way possible. Here's a few reasons why it made my first semester a great one.
1. It introduced me to some of my best friends.
Heading into college not knowing anybody is a little intimidating, to say the least. However, I joined OrangeSeeds within the first month of college, and suddenly had 23 new friends alongside me who shared similar interests and passions. All of us quickly became friends between going to service events together and catching up at our weekly meetings. The friends I've made in OrangeSeeds are some of my closest, and I know my first semester wouldn't have been the same without them.
2. It has gotten me involved in the surrounding community.
With community service events every weekend, I've gotten the opportunity to learn about the city surrounding Syracuse. And I mean ok, waking up at 8 am on the weekend might not always the easiest, but the feeling you get after doing some good is a great one. Between helping those in need and learning about what surrounds the campus, service organizations work to get students thinking about what they can do to make the community a better place.
3. It has helped me discover what I want to study.
Being involved in a service organization has refueled my interest in community service. I never knew how many opportunities were out there until I got to college and took advantage of all that was offered for students to get involved in their communities. Through these involvements, I've learned that my work with the community can be furthered in what I study. By the end of the semester, I realized the best way to do this was to pursue a dual major. I wouldn't have ever come to this decision had it not been for all the community events and experiences I’ve gotten the chance to participate in through this service organization.
4. It has given me great opportunities.
My involvement with a service organization on campus has led me to tons of great opportunities most students might not get the chance to ever experience. Hearing guest speakers and participating in campus-run events have made for an amazing college experience thus far. I've made so many great connections and have been doing things I would have never been able to become involved in were it not for joining.
5. It boosted my confidence.
The opportunities I've been given through my involvement with a service organization on campus have allowed me to see my full potential. Whether it's planning a fundraiser or working with other members during a service event, I find myself to be more confident in my abilities to lead and work with a team. This is a unique experience, one that I don't think you'll find unless you get involved with a service club or activity on campus. Do the research and see what's offered at your school, as you might not know what's out there for you until you really look for it.
6. It helped me find my place.
Headed to a school seven hours from home, I was a little worried about how things would be once I got settled. Once I found OrangeSeeds, I instantly felt that it was where I was supposed to be. I no longer felt like I was wandering around campus lost and confused, I felt connected to my school, and knew that by getting involved, I was making the most out of my college experience.
7. It has allowed me to do what I love.
Between the hundreds of clubs and organizations to get involved in at school, it's hard to find that perfect fit. I had my sights set on finding something that I loved doing. OrangeSeeds gave me just that, a group of people interested in the same things as me: engaging not only with the campus, but with the entire surrounding community. We enter college with one thing on our minds—get that degree. But, there is so much more to college than just that. Getting involved in campus activities makes for an ideal college experience, something we should all have. My involvement in OrangeSeeds allows me to do what I love. It has taught me to think outside of the box, work with others, and see the world around me a bit differently than I did before. So if you're still trying to find your place or discover your niche, I suggest giving that service organization a go. Chances are, you won't regret it.
Lead Image Credit: Daily Mail